Casual sax

Quick learners: Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson of Slow Club are trying to get people dancing more
Quick learners: Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson of Slow Club are trying to get people dancing more
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THEY may have got a fancy producer in for their second album but listen carefully and you might just hear Slow Club humming.

Except, it’s actually Rebecca Taylor – the bubbly blonde half of the Sheffield band – doing an impression of a saxophone part she aspired.

It was the one instrument she and Charles Watson couldn’t play on Paradise, the rather grown up sequel to their rustic Moshi Moshi début Yeah So.

“You can still hear it on the record,” she laughs. “I sent it to the guy who ended up playing sax and when we did the mix they kept taking me out but it kind of lost something so we kept a tiny bit of my ‘sax’ in there as well.”

Paradise mostly continues the DIY approach that powered Slow Club’s first album, but the overall sound is broader, less folky than previous quaint endeavours that nonetheless took them across the globe.

Part of that was down to producer Luke Smith, formerly of electro band Clor.

“The main thing for me was getting people dancing a lot more and being sexier sounding which I think we’ve managed and working with a producer made all the difference. We could say we want a sound ‘like this’ and there was someone there who knew how to do that whereas before we were feeling around.

“Luke worked with us but we needed to remember what we are and what people liked about us, but also to have fun.

“The first album, by the time it finally came out, we’d already grown up so much. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed of it but it’s definitely not what I’m into now or what we were really into or wanting to make at the end of that.

“Our reference points have completely changed from when we recorded Yeah, So. The songs are there but it’s kind of the way it came across. We’re still proud of it but I love us now, I think we’re great.”

Part of the impetus came from what Rebecca and Charles were experiencing as well as listening to. Previously immersed in folk, as well as a mutual passion for Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac “as a place for us to say what we’re trying to do”, Charles is now into newer bands such as Woods and Grizzly Bear while Rebecca has traded her guitar bands to embrace the sophisticated RnB of The-Dream, behind hits such as Beyonce’s Single Ladies.

“Scientifically it’s the way she works melody, the way the songs progress is amazing. Charles can’t stand all this, but it was from there that I was bringing what I wanted.

“It sounds like a weird combo but the tug of war we had has made quite a weird, interesting sound and a mood that isn’t folk any more; neither of us are listening to folk, but we appreciate that as a songwriting skeleton. Bright Eyes are always going to be an influence but we’re moving it on.”

That shift also includes the live MO. Whereas Rebecca was previously restricted to singing from behind drums, recruiting a drummer and bassist means she can sing and play keyboards and guitar freely on the forthcoming tour.

“Having to stand behind the drum kit and sing wasn’t that impressive but had to be done. I never felt like I could lose myself but now I can, and I sing better.

“Now I feel like I’m performing more which when I’m an old lady and can’t move any more I can look back on and know that I danced and sang and really got into it.

“It wasn’t really a big decision but it just felt like what we should do and where we should go. As a two-piece there were only certain things Charles and I could do to fill the sound out so we said let’s record it without those constraints.”

Where I’m Waking is the follow-up single to Two Cousins, the canny calling card that alerted new ears to Slow Club and there being something new on the menu.

“It seemed to embody the spirit of what the record is. It also had the interesting electronic stuff going on and the mood we wanted to get across.

“Also the lyrics are important to us. It felt like that was the one everything fell into place with; from listening to that you can get it.

“I’m really happy with where we went with this record. We’d got pigeonholed as just talking about boys and girls and relationships and that’s kind of not what this one is about.

“There’s a load of neurosis I can write about, not just ‘oh dear, my boyfriend dumped me’. None of that any more.”

Another thing that might be changing is Rebecca’s address. Higher rent has her considering quitting London’s Finsbury Park for a Sheffield return.

Before then she’s likely to be wearing her roots on her sleeve, literally, in the form of a dress fashioned from old shirts donated by Sheffield Wednesday and offcuts from mascot Ozzie The Owl’s new costume.

“I’ve got these huge bits of fabric and I’ve just been for a dress fitting,” she says, pledging to wear it for their Leadmill gig next Friday if ready.

“I’m patriotic about Sheffield and I can’t wait to come back. The club has been a big part of me and my family’s life. The dress is also a really quick way to say ‘I’m from Sheffield’. It’ll be cool, I’ll have it forever and it sums me up.”